Higashi no Wadatsumi, Nishi no Soukai
Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 1994
~ Chapter Two~
Their house was burnt down when Rokuta was very small. As they escaped from the smoke-filled home, one side of the city had turned into a sea of fire. They spent the whole night escaping. The grandparents and one of Rokuta’s sisters were killed.
Escaping from war, Rokuta and his family settled at the west of the city, but all the family’s savings were gone, and Rokuta’s father cannot find any job at the war-ridden city. A brother was dead, the youngest sister was dead, and Rokuta was abandoned at the mountains. That was the only way to save the whole family.
At the mountains, Rokuta was on the verge of death from hunger and thirst when he was brought to this world. He barely survived. However, the reason why Rokuta was brought to this world is that Rokuta is a very special creature -- kirin.
If Rokuta were not a kirin, he would have been dead in the mountains. There must have been many children who had the same tragic fate this way. At that time, at that place, it was not rare for children to be abandoned.
--Setsuzan no Houkai (折山の荒廃, Desolation that crumbles a mountain)
War only brings misfortune to people. This kingdom, where the green
color finally revived, will face war once again. Thinking of this gives
one suffocating pain.
Before his coronation, Syouryuu said that he would like to see his kingdom. Looking down from a hill, he could see nothing remaining on the land. Only twenty years passed after that. The children at that time have all become parents now, haven’t they? The emperor, the kirin and the officials who worked for the emperor all have eternal lives, so they have already forgotten about time. However, this time is stilling flowing along at the world below.
Where are those children who have been abandoned in the mountains now? What are they doing? Maybe they are the same people who are throwing such misfortunes that torture them again.
Rokuta looked up to the sky. The crescent, like a scratch by some sharp claws, had reached the middle of the sky.
“Kouya -- (更夜, lit. late night)”
Rokuta once woke up in the middle of the night and overheard his parents discussing about abandoning him. There was yet another child that woke up in the middle of the night in the same way. That is a story from this kingdom.
-- The time was eighteen years ago, and the place was right at the Province of Gen (元州).